Development of Incident Data Collection Standards for Virginia Department of Transportation Freeway Operations

Report No: 05-CR19

Published in 2005

About the report:

The effective management of incidents is necessary in order to maintain efficient freeway operations. Within the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), there are a number of units responsible for supporting incident management. These groups collect data describing the incidents they manage in order to facilitate real-time coordination and to allow for post-event analysis to improve incident management practices. However, the units generally collect different data elements and describe incident characteristics in different ways. This significantly reduces the value of these data. The purpose of this research project was to develop statewide incident data collection standards for use in VDOT freeway operations. The standard developed in this research includes the following 15 data elements: Unique ID, Incident Type, Incident Severity, General Description, Agencies Responding, Reversible High-Occupancy Vehicle Facility State, Lanes Closed, Route, Nearest Mile Marker, City or County, Direction, Start Time, End Time, Video Coverage, and Detection Source. This standard is beneficial in that it supports regional and statewide coordination of incident management and fully supports the incident management performance measures recently adopted by VDOT's Statewide Incident Management Committee. Furthermore, the VDOT standard is shown to comply with national intelligent transportation systems standards related to incident management. Risks of implementing the standard include a possible increase in data entry requirements and the potential need to modify software and databases slightly at some of VDOT's transportation management systems.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Marc H. Evans, Simona Babiceanu, Wayne S. Ferguson, Brian L. Smith, Ph.D., Catherine C. McGhee, P.E.

Last updated: November 29, 2023

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